Voices of Freedom — A Writers in Exile Event


2:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Downtown Toronto
Toronto, Toronto

PEN Canada’s Writers in Exile group invite you to join them for an afternoon of prose, poetry, camaraderie and discovery. The inaugural event of the Voices of Freedom reading series will be held on Sunday, June 12th from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Hirut Jazz Club, 2050 Danforth Avenue, Toronto (just west of Woodbine).

The event will feature writers from Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. These journalists, novelists, poets and human rights activists are survivors of repressive regimes who fled to Canada. While their jobs in Canada have led them to new livelihoods, they continue to write to remain connected to their purpose and passion.

Their short stories and poems are filled with haunting memories, longing for their homelands, the promise of a better life in Canada, compromises, reconciliation, and the hope and love that keep them going.

This event is dedicated to the memory of Aaron Berhane, the former Chair of PEN’s Writers in Exile group, who passed away last year from Covid at the age of 52. He was the publisher of the first independent newspaper in Eritrea and was forced to flee his country after the government cracked down on the media, arresting several journalists and editors who were never seen again. Aaron’s daughter will read a passage from his memoir, which will soon be published.

Please join us in a celebration of freedom of expression and good company.